By Rebecca Goodman
The Cincinnati Enquirer
Jeffrey L. Wise wanted to be a criminal defense lawyer.
As a boy, he spent part of his childhood in English Woods, a housing project on Cincinnati's west side, seeing the effects of violence and drugs.
"He just couldn't deal with that," said his cousin Tonya Hinkston of Addyston. As a sociology and criminology major at Central State University, he "wanted to try to understand what made people do the things they did."
That's why it was ironic that "Blue," as he was known to his friends and family, died May 23 after apparently being involved in a fight on campus, according to police.
Mr. Wise, 18, was flown to Miami Valley Hospital in Dayton after being hit in the throat. Charged with murder was fellow freshman, Randale Z. Imes, 18, of Buffalo, N.Y.
An excellent student, Mr. Wise was promoted straight from seventh to ninth grade. And as a star baseball, basketball and football player at Woodward High School, he was offered a full football scholarship from Indiana University.
But he decided it was important for him to attend an all-black college, according to his cousin.
The oldest of seven brothers and sisters, Mr. Wise was not only a role model, but a treasure to his siblings.
"He was so sweet," his cousin said. "He had this smile the size of Texas, and it was so beautiful. He could walk into a room, and everybody would just put all eyes on him."
He was especially close to his sister, Venitia Wise of Addyston. "It was always Jeff and Venitia. You never saw one without the other," Hinkston said. "They were a team. She went to every game he ever played."
Mr. Wise was the father of an 18-month old boy, Justin, and a member of First Missionary Baptist Church in Addyston.
"Even though Jeff is gone from us physically, he will never be forgotten in our heart and our mind," his cousin said.
In addition to his sister, cousin and son, survivors include his mother, Jean M. Wise of Price Hill; his father, Jeffrey Wise, downtown; two other sisters, Jordan Wise, downtown, and Cenneca Jackson of Westwood; three brothers, Choya, Cheldon and Chamron Jackson, all of Westwood; and grandmothers Jean M. Owens of Addyston and Vinnie L. Wise of Cincinnati.
Visitation is 6-9 p.m. Sunday at First Missionary Baptist Church, 319 Sekitan Ave., Addyston. Funeral is 10 a.m. Monday at the church. Interment is at Maple Grove Cemetery in Miamitown.
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